Brooklyn and Talia stem from a long tradition of Girl Scouting. Their mother was a Girl Scout, their grandmother was a scout, even their great-grandmother. And so, each time they don their Girl Scout vests, I smile inside about this rich heritage.
We have been extremely fortunate to connect with an active troop that does all sorts of fun things together. In addition to working on specific awards, we've done everything from bowling to practicing etiquette at the Olive Garden. So here's my gripe. Shouldn't participation in these activities be intrinsically rewarding enough? Why do we need to give girls a patch to celebrate every little thing they do? Tie-dying T-shirts. Cool idea. A tie-dye patch? Definitely over the top. After all, the girls already got to take home the shirt. We have water party patches, snow tubing patches, movie night patches, art museum patches, caroling patches...you get the idea. And while most of the Moms are thrilled, I'm concerned that we're sending our daughters the wrong lesson. While the vests may be cute now, do we really want to instill such a sense of expectancy? By recognizing every tiny thing, aren't we devaluing the "real" awards that require substantial time and commitment? And for pete's sake, isn't there some value in my time as a mother? I don't know about you, but I have better things to do than to spend hours on end playing with patches. If anybody finds an "I-sew-on-my-own-awards" patch, there's something I'd celebrate!
Yet as much as I disagree philosophically, I can't say much until I'm willing to match the dedication and time commitment of our fearless troop leader. Still, this problem isn't isolated to Girl Scouting. Everywhere I turn, be it in school, sports, or the community, I find kids being showered with shallow praise and spoiled with trinkets for small endeavors. Despite our good intentions, I feel like many kids are smothering from self-esteem.
What to do? How do you shelter your children from this onslaught of entitlement?